On Hyenas Hounding The Portland Hotel Society And TED Elitism

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by Sean Orr | For all the hyenas like Pete McMartin and developer Michael Geller foaming at the mouth in light of the Portland Hotel Society’s spending details, remember that not a dollar of public money was misspent. How do I know this? Because that’s what Mark Townsend said. If anything, it looks like they need more administrative funding, not less.

Did any of the people currently jumping down the throat of the PHS even bother to ask what their former clients think? Did they think to tie this into the new Local Area Plan? Because you gotta know that the developers aren’t gonna throw in a couple of million dollars while the PHS still have their tentacles spread throughout the DTES. Also, “no community members or PHS residents on the new board”. No surprises there.

So, as McMartin asks cynically “Where was the government all this time?”, I say, exactly. Where the hell were they? And why did they show up late to the party with (might as well be) guns blazing?

An eerie parallel: All That Is Solid Melts into Condos. “As one housing activist likes to note, real estate is to New York City as oil is to Texas. No matter how big of a liberal sits in City Hall, it seems, those titans are going to call the economic shots”.

Related: Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson to be torn down, replaced with condos.

Related part two: Do We Need to Force People to Live in the Homes They Own? I seem to remember Gregor talking about imposing a new speculation tax on empty condos, before he was the mayor.

Development porn: Top 7 Downtown Vancouver buildings under construction (photos). Only in Vancouver would this NOT be mistaken as satire.

#25KLunch memes make mockery of Gregor Robertson’s private meeting. I really regret not making that Bob “Renny” parody twitter account 4 years ago.

If you don’t have 25k, how about a 7.5k TED talk? Vancouver a perfect home for TED-style elitism.

Some good news: St. Paul’s gets mental health emergency unit. Oh, thank God. I had probably the worst night of my life there after they locked me in solitary confinement (because there were no beds available).

Not sure how this guy actually has a blog at the Vancouver Sun, but it’s pretty entertaining: Brutal press release from Health Canada shows their disdain for cannabis medicines and patients in need. Which then leads to the Craigslist of the Day: Medical Marijuana Disposal Services.

BC Ferries’ Discovery Coast debacle turns into pure farce. Let’s hear it for Beautiful BC! Come for the scenery. Stay for the incompetence.

B.C. waters show no increase in radiation after tsunami, says head of Vancouver Aquarium. Time for fear mongers to shut the Fukushima up?

And finally, the best news story ever: Fast-moving emu on the loose in Nanaimo area.

Bonus: Bottle-dash stucco.

There are 13 comments

  1. If you had read the audit report you would know that they had no idea where the money for these expenses was coming. Due to the VCH contract they were not permitted to spend more than 10% on administrative expenses. So this BS that he was operating at only 9.1% is ridiculous. I don’t think it matters but this claim that these funds came from private donations is rubbish. Donations and Fundraising represented a whopping $99K of a $28.6 million dollar budget, thats a whopping 0.3%. So please go sell this innocent do-gooder crap somewhere else. What if you donated that money and found out some asshole had used it take his family to Disneyland? They submitted expense reports for personal trips and parties and wrote themselves cheques to pay for them. I find it just a tad hypocritical that you scream from the heavens about every tiny detail of Christy Clark’s government but these f-ing thieves get a pass because you approve of the cause and think they’re nice people.

  2. I Understand, my point is not that the PHS’s spending should be forgiven, rather take in context. That it its actually hypocritical for the government to create all the conditions necessary for the PHS to happen, then come riding in on their high horse when a few clerical errors are discovered.

  3. “Clerical errors?” Ha! Next you’ll be an apologist for poor Jenny Kwan and agreeing that she had no idea who paid for their excursions.

  4. “A few clerical errors.” I’m sorry but setting up companies to provide services only available to PHS is not a clerical error. Neither is expensing $1600 per month for a home office. Or taking cash advances and not repaying them. How is taking a cruise with someone on your personal credit card and then turning in an expense report for the amount a clerical error? This is premeditated and systemic theft. Read the report.

    http://www.vch.ca/media/Portland-Hotel-Society-Audit-Report_VCH.pdf

  5. Clerical Errors! Wow you should read the audits before blindly defending. The bigger story are the affiliated companies that the PHS set up to line the pockets a few employees. The KPMG audit really spells out the blatant fraud that was going on.

  6. Witchhunt. They fucked up big time but the intentional media exposure by the government is something most readers don’t want to understand.

    VCH states themselves that the audit was for administrative expenses and not the services. Sadly, most people will mix up the two and continue to view DTES as this obsolete shithole where the most impoverished residents have no value.

    The reality is that the services that PHS has provided (and created) is the most inclusive and understanding of the complexities in that area. Insite, radio station, window community, east van roasters, rainier hotel, etc– for the businesses/social enterprises, they menu either are or include prices within reach of the residents. They also employ the residents and not just as the dishwasher that’s not to be seen.

    The individuals responsible for the lavish expenses are gone now. Here’s to hoping that the PHS services remain unchanged (maybe improved?) and that all the property isn’t sold for condos down the line.

  7. Sean why resort to the ” I’m not saying they’re innocent, just that neither is the government.”

    this is the poverty industry and it is en trenched in the DTES.
    Stop with the context argument before you sound like a denier.

    Also props to the bottle dash stucco

  8. I just think the media was so quick in their derision that I wanted people to hear it from Mark himself. The free-marketers have always used the poverty industry argument, so I’m wary of it. Obviously services should have been spread out, but now the DTES is the last bastion, and the market and the government want back in after abandoning it. I don’t see how context is EVER a bad thing.

  9. Agreed. Things aren’t always what they seem – but the other way. The NDP’s narrative – Jenny Kwan et al. of helping “working families” is shot to shite. The Liberal’s – e.g. Hedy Fry – narrative of defending the “middle class” against the “1%” and “crony capitalism” wrecked. Charities, social services, all under the microscope now, all running scared. Mark Townsend just gets off scott free, no police investigation, with severance, probably cash stashed away. Looks all rather false flagish to me. Plus, if he is an operative, he’s got the name’s, personal habits of everyone in the DTES for the last 20 years. This whole thing stinks. What does anyone really know about this charming English chap. Maybe it’s my natural Irish paranoia, but… Just saying… I say sweat the bastard a little. CSIS? CIA? MI6?

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